Clippers vs. Warriors Odds & Pick: Expect Full Effort From Kawhi & PG (Friday, Jan. 8)

Clippers vs. Warriors Odds & Pick: Expect Full Effort From Kawhi & PG (Friday, Jan. 8) article feature image
Credit:

Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Steph Curry (left) and Kawhi Leonard.

  • The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers meet for the second time this season on Friday night.
  • Draymond Green's return has been huge for Golden State, and especially for Steph Curry, but will they be enough to outlast L.A.'s stars?
  • Brandon Anderson previews Friday's game and shares his betting pick below.

Clippers vs. Warriors Odds

Clippers Odds -3.5 [BET NOW]
Warriors Odds +3.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline TBD [BET NOW]
Over/Under 231.5 [BET NOW]
Time 10 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Thursday night and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

It’s a special Friday night treat on ESPN as the stars come to our screens. Steph Curry has had a spectacular week for the Warriors, helped greatly by the healthy return of Draymond Green, and they’ll face off against Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the L.A. Clippers.

For all the hand-wringing about both of these teams early, the Clippers now sit 6-3, right up near the top of the Western Conference standings, while the Warriors are back to 4-4 and feeling just fine, too. This is the second half of a double header, and the Clippers won the first one on Wednesday night, pulling away late for a 7-point win.

So will the Warriors respond, or is a Clippers sweep in the making?

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Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers are winning mostly with offense right now, and perhaps not the most sustainable of offense. The Clippers rank top-five in Offensive Efficiency following their most recent game, and they’ve had outstanding shooting thus far. The Clippers have made more than 40% of their threes and almost 85% of their free throws, both top-two in the entire NBA.

So much of L.A.’s offense right now is just Paul George and Kawhi Leonard taking and making tough shots. Those two have had the ball much more this season, especially PG, and that has meant more time creating for the Clippers and more isolation looks.  It would be great if L.A. could find easier ways to score, especially against poor defenses, because we already know what happens when those shots don’t fall.

The Clippers’ defense has not been particularly good. They’re average or below-average in most metrics and haven’t found answers with the new pieces yet. Luke Kennard has struggled to fit in, and Serge Ibaka has had moments but isn’t producing numbers. Lou Williams is always a disaster defensively and hasn’t been good enough offensively to offset that, and PG and Kawhi have not matched their offensive efforts on defense.

The Clippers are giving up too many easy looks and rank in the bottom 10 in Defensive Efficiency, and that’s even with the team benefiting some from 3-point luck so far. (L.A. is probably benefiting from shooting luck at both ends of the court.)

The Clippers are good, but they’re still not great. They’re still figuring this thing out.

The best news for the team is that George and Leonard appear to be fully healthy. Kawhi just played in his first back-to-back games since 2017, and PG’s shoulder looks healthy, as he’s sat out just once. Both are playing full loads when they do play, and with a night off in between double-header games and this one on ESPN, I expect a full effort from L.A.’s two stars.


Golden State Warriors

Steph Curry tweaked his ankle in the final minute of the Warriors’ loss to the Clippers, but the injury did not sound serious after the game and is not expected to sideline him. It’s still a concern, though, because Curry has been so central to any success the Warriors have had this year.

Curry has scored 30 or more points four times this year, and the Warriors have won all four times. He’s averaging only 19.5 PPG in Golden State’s four losses. Curry also has hit at least five 3s in every Warriors win, but has only nine makes in losses. Curry is the entire Warriors offense right now. He shot only 5-of-17 against the Clippers on Wednesday night, and it wasn’t good enough.

The Warriors as a team have not been particularly good at anything. They rank below average on both offense and defense and are probably lucky to be 4-4 right now. They have yet to beat a sure playoff team (depending on what you think of Portland) and their other wins came against the Bulls, Pistons and Kings.

Green’s return has been huge, especially for Curry. Those two simply work together with a synergy Curry doesn’t have with any other teammate. But Green is barely impacting a box score outside of assists, and while he has improved the team defense and communication, he isn’t enough.

Kelly Oubre has been abysmal. Rookie James Wiseman has flashes and moments but is in the wrong place too often and the value doesn’t match the occasional production so far. Andrew Wiggins is Andrew Wiggins. This is a bad roster outside of the top two guys. It’s all on Steph and Draymond this year.

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Clippers-Warriors Pick

Curry may not be an injury risk, but I was feeling good about the Clippers here before the tweaked ankle, and that’s just another reason to bet on L.A. here.

Any success Golden State has had this season has been on Steph’s shoulders. And yes, the Warriors hung in there a couple nights ago, but they did that with a rare good Wiggins game and a big bench performance from Eric Paschall and others. That’s not reliable from night to night, and I just don’t think the Warriors can beat a good team like the Clippers right now without a huge Curry performance.

That’s always a possibility with Curry at home, but not enough to talk myself into the Warriors. Golden State is a terrible rebounding team and got dominated on the glass, 48-35, on Wednesday. The Clippers have far more paths to score and will get more possessions with the rebounding edge, and Golden State doesn’t have the wings to slow down Leonard or George.

The Warriors are getting a little too much respect here, and this line feels like a gift. You’d have never bet against the Warriors at home in the old days, but these are not the old Warriors, and there’s no home crowd pushing Steph on. I don’t trust the ankle when so much Warriors pressure is on it, and I’m still not convinced the Warriors can beat good teams.

If Leonard or George ends up sitting, I might make the Warriors a favorite and probably stay away from this one as a toss-up. But assuming both play, I have to grab the Clippers at -3.5 and would play to -4.5.

Pick: Clippers -3.5

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